SPRING has sprung in Ruthin after six cygnets were spotted exploring and splashing about in a park.

The clutch of baby swans hatched in Cae Ddol Park on Tuesday, April 16 and have been playing in the lake while not being allowed to stray too far from their parents.

The mum and dad are one of 6,400 breeding couples throughout the UK. Swans seek a single mating partner for life.

Resident and wildlife photographer Tracy Fletcher followed their birth for several weeks after seeing the mother sitting on the large eggs, which usually hatch between 35 and 41 days.

Mrs Fletcher said: "The mother has been on the nest for weeks and I figured they were due this week. I visited twice a day with binoculars and a camera and, finally, they started hatching.

"Photographing cygnets are a favourite of mine because I love to see them grow and keep a record of each hatch."

Cygnets remain with their parents until four or five months of age and begin breeding after two years.

However, six of the eight cygnets born in Ruthin last year died following a patch of cold weather which, along with their main predator, foxes, often threatens their survival.

Mrs Fletcher added: "Wildlife photography has been my passionate hobby for many years so the parents are used to me sitting close to the pond with my camera. I'm there a lot but I never disturb them.

"Since they hatched I have been going down every day, trying and make sure they are OK. Hopefully we can get them all through this time and keep them safe."